Banning the b-word…

By Malena Amusa Aug 07, 2007

This first appeared at Feministing. Miriam wrote:

The New York Times reports today that the New York City Council is considering a proposal to ban the word bitch. This proposal follows a similar ruling which banned the use of the n-word last February.

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women.

While the article mentions no details about how a ban like this would be enforced (NYPD giving tickets for profanity?) they do talk to quite a few random people on the street to gauge their reactions to such a proposal. Most people interviewed are against the idea, arguing that is a too crucial part of their daily speech–they use it to refer to their friends, spouses, in their stand-up comedy or in their every day. While I agree with the Councilwoman’s sentiment above, that in many of its uses, the word bitch is derogatory toward women–eradicating its usage isn’t going to solve the larger problem of the word’s sentiment, or the fact that women who are assertive or opinionated are considered bitches. The idea of fighting sexism by regulating our language seems to me like putting a politically correct band-aid over the larger problem we face–mistreatment and disrespect of women. What do you all think?

So this piece touches on some good points. But I wonder if banning the b-word trivializes the ban on the n-word by somewhat equating the terms.